The Current and Future Role of Ecologists as it Relates to Marcellus and Utica Shale Hydraulic Fracturing Research, Policy, and Advocacy.
Monday, August 5, 2013: 10:15 AM-11:30 AM
101F, Minneapolis Convention Center
Walter E. Auch III, FracTracker.org, Cleveland State University
David J. Murphy, Northern Illinois University;
David G. Argent, California University of Pennsylvania; and
Karl F. Korfmacher, Rochester Institute of Technology
Horizontal shale oil/gas and tight sandstone extraction was first conducted in Grant County, Kansas 1947. The Texas and Marcellus/Utica Shale in the northeastern United States and Ohio were considered impenetrable until the early 1980s, with exploration beginning in 1979 and 2004, respectively. The USGS and EIA estimate an average of 18.5 and 166 billion barrels of recoverable shale oil and related hydrocarbons, respectively, with 42% of the former in the Marcellus Shale Basin. Shale oil production has increased 556% since 2007 (39 to 217 million barrels), with an identical 450% trajectory for shale gas (1.6 to 7.2 trillion ft3). However, there exist externalized costs associated with hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” from a water quality/quantity, pre- and post-fracking plant productivity, air quality, and soil quality perspective. Average Marcellus Shale freshwater usage amounts to 85,000 gallons for drilling and 5.6 million gallons for hydraulic fracturing with state water-use bills such as Ohio HB 473 focusing on withdrawal – not consumed or discharged – at the expense of quality. Legislation doesn’t speak to plant or soil productivity or air quality before and post-reclamation in contrast to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA). The latter provided a well-intended framework for quantifying ecologically successful reclamation. Scant academic research has spoken to appropriate metrics of ecological restoration and/or in situ influence on ecological pattern and process. The objective of this session is to bring together attendees to discuss potential social, environmental, and economic metrics, research angles, citizen science deployment, and public-private collaborations.